Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 29/01/2019

Protecting workers against cancer-causing chemicals: third agreement between EU institutions

The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached a provisional agreement on the Commission's third proposal to broaden the list of recognised cancer-causing chemicals in the workplace.

© Dmitry Kalinovsky / Shutterstock

With this agreement, 5 additional cancer-causing chemicals will be covered by the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive.

The Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, welcomed the agreement with the following statement: 

"Through 3 successive updates to the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive, we have taken a fundamental step in protecting European workers from the biggest silent killer in the workplace: cancer. Today's agreement on the Commission's third proposal will improve working conditions for over 1 million EU workers and prevent over 22,000 cases of work-related illness. It will help create healthier and safer workplaces, which is a core principle of the European Pillar of Social Rights. This agreement will, for instance, ensure better protection of workers in the nickel-cadmium battery manufacture, zinc and copper smelting, laboratories, electronics, funeral and embalming, construction, healthcare, plastics and recycling sectors. At the same time, clear and simple health and safety rules on these 5 chemicals will benefit businesses in our internal market. Particular attention has been paid to helping small and micro-enterprises comply with the new rules.

Today's agreement confirms once again the strong commitment from all actors to the European Pillar of Social Rights. I extend my thanks to rapporteur Laura Agea and the shadow rapporteurs on behalf of the European Parliament, and to the Romanian Presidency and its predecessors on behalf of the Council. This agreement should now be confirmed quickly to ensure the new rules are in place for the European elections in May 2019.”

Next steps

The agreement will be submitted to the Council's Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) for approval. Once the Member States' Permanent Representatives confirm the agreement, it will be subject to a final vote by the plenary of the European Parliament.

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